In response to the Supreme Court judicial commission’s damning report on the Quetta hospital attack, the Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has fired back – indignant, remorseful, and thoroughly unabashed. In a 110-page report that touched on subjects ranging from border management seminary registration, Mr Nisar has cherry-picked only those points that criticised him the hardest, and has come out in his own defence in the form that he knows best – a press conference in front of a roomful of pliant reporters. The debate on Quetta and terrorism will have to wait it seems, first Mr Nisar and his sense of dignity need to sort a few things out.

According to the Interior Minister’s monologue, the report was one-sided, didn’t ask the Interior Ministry for its version of the events and went beyond the ambit of its formation – probing the Quetta attack – to question all manner of terrorism related activities. To be fair to the Minister, the third objection has an element of truth to it; the judicial commission went far beyond the intuitive limits of the inquiry. However, when we consider the verdict of the report – ineptness and systematic of the failure of the government departments to take counter-terrorism seriously – then tracing that lack of commitment back to the other events over a course of several years not only becomes logical but necessary.

As far as being “one-sided” goes, the judicial commission is supposed to give a considered opinion; its own opinion. It is not its job to equally represent all parties and their version of events. That is how fact-finding commissions work, the Interior Minister must surely be aware.

In any case the commission need not have included the Interior Ministry’s version, as Mr Nisar is at hand to explain that in detail. The answers to some of the burning questions – such as why the Minister has convened only one meeting of NACTA in three and a half years – were not given. While the others – such as claiming that the Minister was not aware that the Difa-e-Pakistan Council contained members from banned religious organisations, and that he had not approved their rally in Islamabad – were fairly weak and unconvincing, and in fact reinforced the sense that the Interior Ministry does not really care about these sort of details. For the meeting did happen, as did the rally.

In the end, the takeaway is this; the Interior Ministry’s version does not matter. The judicial commission has laid bare a fact most had already known – the government is not doing enough with counter-terrorism and the implementation of NAP. While no one denies the actual gains made by the government this fact must be accepted, and the loopholes identified by the commission diligently closed.

However, Chaudhry Nisar’s ego stood in the way, and instead of discussing the contents of the report we are discussing how the Minister is planning on challenging the report “in every forum” – which incidentally he cannot and should not.